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Weighing the Pros and Cons of Paleo Diet for Your Senior Loved One

When caring for an elderly family member, it can be daunting to sort through the myriad of diet programs to find the one best suited to fit your loved one’s needs. One popular option to explore is the Paleo diet. Based on the idea that humans should eat foods consumed by people from the Paleolithic era for optimal health, the diet excludes grains, dairy, and processed foods in favor of meats, fruits, and vegetables. This diet may be a viable source of nutrition for seniors, however Temple Home Care Assistance wants you to know that it does have some drawbacks your loved one must consider before deciding whether or not to try it.

Benefits:

The Paleo diet is fundamentally a healthy one. Because the foods included in the diet are not only nutrient dense, but also low in calories, they can be consumed as often desired and in large quantities. Some seniors struggle with excess weight, but the Paleo diet promotes weight loss. Most meats, fruits, and vegetables recommended by the Paleo diet have a low glycemic index, which means they will not cause blood sugar spikes that can be dangerous for people with diabetes. If your loved one has allergies, it’s easier to avoid allergens when only meats and vegetables are served. Also, the Paleo diet is high in protein (used by the body to build muscle, maintain vision, and balance hormones), iron (prevents anemia), fiber (promotes digestive health), and other vitamins. Finally, there will be no intake of harmful chemicals, added sugars, and preservatives often found in processed foods. This is particularly helpful for seniors who receive stroke care in Temple because processed foods can contribute to stroke relapse.

Drawbacks:

There are a few issues with the diet that your loved one should consider before choosing it. Some seniors need to gain and maintain weight rather than losing it, and for them, this diet may be the wrong choice because it excludes many high-calorie foods that make it difficult to gain weight. Some elderly people- especially those with brittle bones or osteoporosis- need more calcium in their diets, which would be difficult as the Paleo diet restricts the consumption of dairy. Finally, the diet limits carbohydrate intake, which is one of the body’s main energy sources. This can harm energy levels if grains are not replaced by something else in the diet (which may be difficult to do properly).

Seniors may have trouble finding the right diet plan to suit their health needs, but it’s important to know that help is out there. Home Care Assistance of Dayton provides comprehensive live-in and hourly home care for local seniors, including assistance with nutritious meal preparation and daily physical activity. We also provide specialized services including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, and dementia care Temple seniors will appreciate. Learn more about our services when you call a friendly Care Manager at 254-856-0600 today and schedule a free in-home consultation.